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'Baby-Friendly' Status Reflects Extensive Training

June 01, 2018

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — After two years of preparation and training, The University of Kansas Health System has received prestigious status as a Baby-Friendly Hospital.

The Baby-Friendly Initiative is a global program from the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund. The purpose is to encourage hospitals to provide an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding.

The Baby-Friendly designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. More than 20,000 hospitals and birth centers worldwide have received the designation, with 515 of those in the United States.

Within an hour of delivering their babies, new moms on our Mother/Baby Unit are quickly taught about the importance of skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding. Early education is part of our work aimed at providing extra support to new moms.

"This is an amazing achievement by everyone in our department, including our outpatient obstetrics services," says Gail Schuetz, RN, director of Maternal Child Services. "This is truly a team effort in support of providing the highest quality care to our patients."

To achieve the recognition, hospitals must show they support evidence-based practices, including the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and provide breastfeeding education, skills and encouragement to mothers.

Our staff also were trained regarding care of breastfeeding mothers and babies, including providing support after discharge. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the 10 steps as demonstrated by quality processes.

To help prepare for the designation, the health system participated in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's EMPower Breastfeeding grant program. Through that funding and support, the health system received additional resources to help new moms achieve their breastfeeding goals. 

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